Meredith Takes Heart - Plans 3-year Program With Heart Association
by Scott Donaton

Better Homes & Gardens is teaming with the American Heart Association for a three-year marketing program designed to educate consumers on heart health.

The program starts in September and includes advertorials in the Meredith Corp. monthly, custom magazines and in-store promotions. The first year covers diet, the second food labeling and the third a mix of both topics.

Better Homes & Gardens hopes to sign 10 food companies as non-exclusive sponsors for the first year. Sponsorship packages cost $400,000.

Meredith Publishing Director Jay Burzon compared the program to the publisher's sponsorship last year of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' Gold Link awards. That helped the magazine attract more health & beauty aids advertisers.

"We're trying to build a tripod: a close association with retailers, with associations and with the people we sell to," Mr. Burzon said. "I can't sell your business unless I know your business."

Better Homes & Gardens' September issue will feature an advertorial on heart health, including a page ad from each sponsor. That same month, Meredith and the association will kick off an in-store program in 10,000 supermarkets nationwide.

Through in-store partner Act Media, Meredith will distribute 1.5 million copies of a free standing magazine, tentatively titled Healthy Heart, free to shoppers who buy any two products involved in the promotion. Sponsors will get cover mention and a page ad in the magazine.

The heart association will set up information kiosks in participating supermarkets; volunteers will distribute wall posters, pledge cards and information booklets. Sponsors will be named on all collateral material.

Participating advertisers can use two logos created for the program both in ads and on shelves for a year, beginning in July.

Mr. Burzon said he's negotiating with several sponsors but wouldn't name them. He hopes to sell the program out by month end. The association will have to approve all sponsors.

Hearst Corp. is pursuing a similar project. This month, Hearst will publish a test issue of Living Well, a magazine produced as a joint venture between Good Housekeeping and the American Medical Association.